Even though we’ve all been taught to “worry about it tomorrow,” worry has a way of getting in the way of life. It’s often hard to know when you’re worrying too much or how to stop, but there are some things you can do. Start by recognizing your triggers-do you find yourself constantly rehearsing the worst scenarios in your head? Once you recognize them, try these 15 steps How To Stop Worrying:
Admit that you’ve been thinking about it
The first step to decreasing worry is to be aware of the fact that you’re worrying too much-after all, if you don’t know what’s going on, how can you stop it! Recognizing the negative thoughts and emotions for what they are is a huge part of stopping them in their tracks. Once you realize that there isn’t any imminent danger, 9 times out of 10 your worries will fade away before they have even begun.
Recall past experiences
To feel less worried about an upcoming event or task, try reminding yourself of past successes with similar issues. Just as our memories tend to skew positive over time, so does our worry. Thinking about times when you have successfully handled a similar situation will help to calm your nerves and put your current worries into perspective.
Make a list of your worries
This one is especially helpful if you find yourself constantly worrying about the future. By making a list, you’re taking that worry out of your head and putting it on paper where you can see it and deal with it. For each worry, ask yourself “What is the worst that could happen?” and “What is the likelihood of that happening?” Odds are, after looking at the list, you’ll realize that many of your worries are unfounded and won’t cause any real harm.
In a world where stress at work, school, and home can monopolize our thoughts and turn into anxiety, it’s never been more important to take time for ourselves. Whether that means taking a long bath or just sitting outside for a few minutes every day, the point is to get away from your thoughts and let your mind wander. Downtime allows you to break free from the cycle of negativity created by worry and recharge to face future challenges feeling refreshed and ready!
Come up with a plan of action
Instead of allowing yourself to be dragged down by negative emotions or thoughts about an upcoming event or task without end, create a plan of action beforehand that will help mitigate concerns while maintaining control over the situation. If you’re worried about an upcoming presentation, come up with a timeline and agenda for how to prepare; if you’re anxious about a looming deadline, make a list of what can be done in advance to avoid stress later on. Having a plan gives you a tangible goal to focus on-and worry naturally dissipates when it has no place to go.
One of the main causes of excessive worry is the tendency to blow things out of proportion or jump to the worst-case scenario. When we do this, not only do we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration, but also increased anxiety and worry down the line. Next time you find yourself worrying, take a step back and ask yourself what you can do about the situation. Chances are it’s not the end of the world!
Re-evaluate your self-talk
Self-talk plays a huge role in how we view ourselves and our lives. The messages we tell ourselves daily have the power to lift us and empower us or bring us down into an anxious, depressive state. Next time you find yourself worrying, turn that negative self-talk around by reminding yourself of your strengths and abilities. Remind yourself that you are capable!
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware and in the present moment, without judgment. This can be incredibly helpful when it comes to worrying, as it allows us to observe our thoughts and emotions without getting wrapped up in them. When we’re able to simply “watch” our thoughts and feelings instead of identifying with them, they tend to lose their power over us.
Take care of yourself physically
Exercise, a balanced diet, and plenty of sleep are all essential for maintaining mental health and well-being. When we’re run down or exhausted, it’s much harder to cope with stress and anxiety not to mention worries that seem insurmountable at the time! Taking care of yourself physically will help you feel better equipped to deal with whatever life throws your way.
Repeat positive mantras
Positive affirmations are phrases that we tell ourselves to help us feel better during difficult times. One of the best ways to do this is by repeating them when you find yourself worrying-or throughout your day, in general-to remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful for! Think about what’s bothering you, then pick out one thing that you’re grateful for in each situation. For example, if your roommate forgot to do their dishes again, you might say “It’s frustrating my roommate didn’t do the dishes, but I’m grateful for a home where I can live peacefully with roommates.” See? Not as bad as it first seemed!
Stop putting off life
One of the main reasons we worry so much is because we’re afraid of the future and what it may bring. But by doing this, we’re robbing ourselves of the present moment, which is where life happens! Next time you find yourself anxious about something that may or may not happens, ask yourself “will this matter in 5 years?” More often than not, the answer is no. So why waste time and energy worrying?
Take a break from social media
Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it can also be a major source of worry and anxiety. Between comparing our lives to others’ carefully curated versions on Instagram and Facebook, to witnessing world events unfold in real-time on Twitter, it’s easy to see how social media can be a major source of stress. If you’re finding that social media is causing you more anxiety than joy, take a break from it for a while and see if that makes a difference.
Challenge your fears
One of the best ways to stop worrying is to challenge the fears that are causing you to worry in the first place. This means taking a closer look at them and trying to determine what’s realistic and what’s not. Are you afraid of spiders? Chances are you’re not going to die if one crawls on you, so why let that fear control your life? Next time you find yourself worrying about something, ask yourself “Is this something I should be worrying about?” If the answer is no, odds are you’ll feel much better once you’ve gotten it out of your system.
When we’re hard on ourselves, it’s much harder to stop worrying. This is because self-criticism creates a sense of anxiety and guilt, both of which are known to increase worry levels. Practicing self-compassion, on the other hand, is all about treating yourself with kindness and understanding during difficult times. So next time you find yourself worrying, take a deep breath and say to yourself “this is hard right now, but it will pass. I’m doing the best I can.”
Seek professional help if needed
Worrying can be a sign of an underlying mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression. If you’re finding that your worries are interfering with your day-to-day life, or if they’re causing you a great deal of distress, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with the tools and support you need to manage your worries effectively.
Do any of these steps work for you? Worrying can be a normal stress reaction, but when it starts to interfere with our daily lives, it’s time to take action. Luckily, there are many things we can do to help control our worries and make them less of a distraction. Try out some of the steps listed above, and see if they work for you! If not, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.